Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Science can cure disease and make things adorable at the same time!

A recent study by the University of Rochester Medical Center has found that the same chemical used to color blue M&Ms and blue Gatorade can also be used to heal spine injuries. The chemical, Brilliant Blue G (BGG) blocks P2X7, known as the "Death Receptor." This stops the signal that tells motor neurons to undergo apoptosis (cell death). When rats with spinal cord injuries were injected with BGG, they were able to walk again with a limp.

How awesome is that?

And BGG has the added benefit of making rats extra adorable. They go from this:
To this:Want. Now.

12 comments:

  1. Extra adorable until they dropped a weight on its back and then killed it to disect it :(

    I support the research but it still makes me sad. I'm just glad I don't have to do it.

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  2. How do you get them to pose like that? Do you have a little furry photographer?

    ...wait, did this article say Blue Gatorade cures paralysis?

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  3. what is a blue human going to look like?

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  4. That is NOT more adorable! Pink rattie ears and noses and feetses are the most adorable things on the face of the planet. The blue just makes them look dead.

    @Anon: It's a bit ridiculous, even in jest, to suggest that the researchers drop weights on the rats' backs. We're doing paralysis studies on guinea pigs at Purdue, and they surgically sever the spinal cord while the pig is under anesthesia.

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  5. Or it makes the poor mouse look like a Libertarian on a colloidal silver binge.

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  6. @ Julie

    If you read the article in the National Geographic online it explicitly states that they drop weights on their backs. I didn't make it up.

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  7. Thank you for calling me ridiculous, though! :D

    "This rat (shown pre-treatment)had its spinal cord injured while under anesthesia (a weight was dropped on its back)and then recovered its ability to take clumsy steps 42 days after having been given a derivative of a common blue food coloring..."

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/photogalleries/blue-rats-food-dye-heals-pictures/photo2.html

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  8. @Veritas : Looks like they are sedated and their heads are propped up, using three weigh boats as a "pillow". (Fisher Science p/n 08-732-112)

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  9. Hmmm. Just looking at the picture (before reading the post) I flashed the idea that they were crossing rats with Hydrangeas, & wondered if playing with the PH of Purina Rat Chow allowed them to vary the coloration.

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  10. In other rodent bio news: http://singularityhub.com/2009/07/30/growing-mice-from-stem-cells-the-real-story-about-the-stem-cell-breakthrough-from-qi-zhou/

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  11. @Anon, I didn't call you ridiculous, so drop the persecution complex.

    Forgive me for assuming that you were exaggerating, but I work in research. I have to deal with PETArds and ALF crazies every day making my job out to be some sort of gleefully malicious form of animal torture and abuse. They make up claims that sound much like yours did every day. There's an entire paralysis research center in my department, and I had never heard of such crude methods being used before. Surgical and acid-corosion methods are what we use.

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  12. Thats great but it still makes me sad that they had to give the rats a spinal cord injury =[

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